High Court action over Easter Trading
A Napier man is taking his local council to court over its decision to allow retailers to open on Easter Sunday.
Robin Gwynn, a former Napier City councillor, filed an application for judicial review in the High Court at Napier on Thursday.
Councillors voted 6-5 in February last year to adopt a local trading policy, which would allow retailers to open on Easter Sunday if they chose to.
Changes to the Shop Trading Hours Act meant councils could adopt such a policy, replacing existing legislation that stipulated shops must be closed on that day unless exempt.
‘‘The case has been taken because of a concern that the process council followed to remove one of the three and a half remaining guaranteed holidays for all workers prevented proper consultation with many of those most affected by the decision, including employees of shops now able to trade on Easter Sunday, and church groups,’’ Gwynn said.
He said this occurred because submissions were only able to be made over the summer period when churches were busy in the lead up to Christmas, and with clergy and staff then on leave, ‘‘and because council wrongly assumed it had consulted with trade unions’’.
‘‘In my view the process the council did undertake favoured the business community so that the council received an incomplete and biased response to its proposed policy,’’ he said.
‘‘Before 1980 New Zealanders enjoyed over a hundred shared leave days.
‘‘Losing one of the very few now remaining guaranteed shared leave days is a significant matter for society as a whole,’’ he said.
He said a petition last year of over four hundred people asking the council to hold ‘‘a proper and fair hearing’’ was ignored and that left ‘‘court action as the only remaining resort for natural justice on this issue’’.